Sweepstakes, contests and giveaways used to be reserved for Fortune 500 companies. That’s because companies needed large budgets to advertise the sweepstakes, hire a fulfillment house to deal with thousands of paper entries and organize participant entry information. It was a labor intensive process.
Those days are quickly passing. With a mobile phone in everyone’s hand, a participant can simply text to enter an SMS sweepstakes (Text KEYS to 65047 to enter now!) or complete a mobile entry form from the comfort of their smartphone (www.floridakeyswin.com). This makes the creation, management and prize giving of a sweepstakes far more cost-effective than ever before.
Sweepstakes (where random winners are drawn) and contests (where a skill is needed to win) are tried and proven marketing tactics that work. In the U.S., some early examples of its use date back to 1941 with the Parkway Margarine “Free Food” Contest. Today, sweepstakes and contests are everywhere, including ongoing programs, such as McDonald’s® Monopoly Instant Win Games, Coke ™ Rewards Sweepstakes and of course Publisher’s Clearing House. They work and work very well, offering many advantages to marketers.
The benefits of mobile sweepstakes and contest marketing:
- Buzz: sweepstakes create tremendous word of mouth. The Florida Keys “Win a Florida Keys Vacation and Experience Key West BrewFest” sweepstakes (above) generated a huge reaction in social media and on blogs, sweepstakes sites and elsewhere. In the first 3 hours alone, it received more than 1,000 visitors and nearly 400 “likes” and 600 “shares” on the Florida Keys Facebook fan page.
- Increase Your Email and Mobile Database: Sweepstakes and contests usually ask for name, email and address. Mobile sweepstakes take it a step further by gathering the mobile number as well. This increases the email and mobile marketing database tremendously and allows marketers to contact subscribers via text message and email after the sweepstakes is over.
- High Return on Investment (ROI): The cost of setting up a mobile sweepstakes is far lower than the cost involved in traditional “paper entry” sweepstakes. The mobile entry component makes it very easy for the participant to enter. No forms to fill or staff needed to gather them. Mobile text-in entry increases the number of participants substantially. And the more participants you have, the lower the cost per entry. The ROI can be calculated by total entries or total qualified leads generated. ROI can be taken a step further by factoring in social media reach and new website visitors.
The Main Elements of a Mobile Sweepstakes
Goal: The objective of the sweepstakes needs to be clarified and kept top of mind in all activities. If it’s lead generation, the participants should be pre-qualified upon entry to facilitate the sales follow-up efforts. If it’s for branding, then promotion and related marketing and social networks should be leveraged as much as possible. If market research is a priority, then a survey can be included as part of the entry process. A marketer should plan beforehand what he will do with the data once it’s collected and how that data will turn into actionable analysis and a marketing asset.
Prize: Bigger isn’t always better. It’s crucial to pick the right prize– a prize that appeals to the target audience your product or service is trying to reach. Are you a college targeting high school students? A cruise trip for two to Alaska may not be the best option for high school students, but a new iPad mini will be.
Legal “Official Rules”: Because of their potential for abuse, sweepstakes are heavily regulated. In the U.S. all states have laws covering sweepstakes, sometimes resulting in exceptions, depending on where the entrant lives. Sweepstakes and contests are also regulated by U.S. Federal Trade Commission on a national level. Age requirements, date of birth, state of residency and the monetary value of the prize all affect how sweepstakes’ Official Rules are assembled. The Sweepstakes Official Rules should be reviewed by an attorney specializing in promotion marketing laws.
Mobile Partner: Whether you are an ad agency or a company, picking the right mobile sweepstakes partner is key. The mobile partner should be able to provide you with the services of executing and running a mobile sweepstakes. The mobile partner should also have the technical know-how to put together a text-to-win program and create mobile-optimized entry pages to capture participant’s information. A mobile sweepstakes partner should have the technology platform to provide a short code (text KEYS to 65047, for example), gather a database of mobile entries and provide reports as to the status of the program. They will also provide prize drawing, awarding and fulfillment services. A mobile sweepstakes partner will recommend Official Rules and promote your sweepstakes through their own channels. And when it’s all over, a mobile partner should provide post-sweepstake mobile engagement ideas to continue to drive the goals of the campaign and leverage the database of leads.
Fulfillment: A winner must be picked randomly and the prize awarded with the time limits that were set in the Official Rules. The winner must be contacted and a Declaration of Compliance, Liability and Publicity Release should be received before any prize is delivered. Based on the value of the winnings, a 1099 tax form needs to be sent to the winner as well. Fulfillment it’s a detailed and necessary process to avoid any future legal complications.
If you want to reach your mobile consumer, a mobile sweepstakes is absolutely the best way to do so. It allows the marketer to gather a detailed, permission-based profile of your mobile customer. Above all, it can create a fun, buzz-worthy event to energize current customers and reach new ones.